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Warriors taking aim at first-place Aggies

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The University of Hawai’i can do itself – and the rest of the Big West Conference – a big favor with a victory over UC Davis on Thursday night.

The Warriors will host the first-place Aggies at the Stan Sheriff Center in a matchup of the conference’s two top scoring teams.

Hawai’i is 13-6 overall and 1-2 in the Big West following a road loss at UC Riverside last weekend. UC Davis is 14-3 and 4-0 – the only remaining undefeated team in the Big West.

“We’re going to have to slow them down offensively in the half-court,” UH head coach Benjy Taylor said. “We have to do a better job of (guarding) personnel. And we have to put the ball in the hole.”

Hawai’i ranks first in the Big West with 72.9 points per game, and UC Davis is second at 71.7. However, the teams rely on different methods to score points.

UC Davis is one of the most efficient shooting teams in the country. The Aggies rank fourth in the nation in overall field goal percentage at .501, and first in the country in 3-point percentage at .441.

To put it in perspective, the Aggies are 153 for 347 from 3-point range this season, while Hawai’i is 112 for 367.

“They’re shooting 44 percent from 3, I’m scratching my head on that one,” Hawai’i senior guard Garrett Nevels said. “We just have to close out the shooters, know the personnel and just play hard the whole 40 minutes.”

UC Davis is led by a familiar name to Hawai’i basketball fans in Corey Hawkins. The 6-foot-3 senior has had stellar performances against the Warriors in each of the past two seasons.

In four career games against Hawai’i, Hawkins is averaging 27.8 points and 6.5 rebounds per game. He shot 32 for 54 (.593) from the field, including an astounding 18 for 23 (.783) from 3-point range, in those four games.

Hawkins has also done it to other teams this season. He currently leads the Big West with 20.9 points per game, and also leads the Aggies in rebounding (5.5) and assists (3.7). He ranks second in the Big West with 47 3-pointers, and is first in the conference in 3-point percentage at .500.

“It would be nice if he don’t get to his average, but not too many people have done that this year,” Taylor said. “He’s a good ball player. I think the thing he’s doing a lot better this year is he’s a senior and he’s passing the ball a lot better when the double-team comes.”

UC Davis finished in ninth (last) place in the Big West last season. Two players – forwards Josh Ritchart and J.T. Adenrele – had to redshirt last season due to injuries. They are both starters this season, and Ritchart is averaging 11.9 points and 4.1 rebounds per game, and Adenrele is contributing 7.3 points and 4.4 rebounds per game.

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“They’re playing very well,” Taylor said of the Aggies. “Their plan worked. Sitting those guys out and having a big year this year, it’s working out for them. We have our hands full.”

While the Aggies rely on sharp shooting, the Warriors will be looking to create havoc on defense to lead to transition baskets. Hawai’i leads the Big West and ranks sixth in the nation in steals with 9.8 per game.

Junior point guard Roderick Bobbitt leads the way with 2.9 steals per game, which ranks second in the country.

Sophomore wing Aaron Valdes leads Hawai’i in both scoring (15.5) and rebounding (6.0). After that, the Warriors have eight players averaging between 4.4 and 11.4 points peer game: Nevels (11.4), Isaac Fleming (9.5), Bobbitt (9.0), Stefan Jankovic (9.0), Negus Webster-Chan (8.4), Mike Thomas (8.2), Stefan Jovanovic (5.2) and Quincy Smith (4.4).

Taylor is hoping to have all nine of those players available for Thursday’s game. Nevels (hand) and Webster-Chan (flu) sat out the last game, and Thomas (thumb) sat out the final minutes. “We’re expecting everybody back,” Taylor said. “They’re banged up but they’re ready to play.”

(WarriorInsider.com file photos courtesy Matt Osumi)

Thursday’s Games
UC Irvine at Cal State Northridge
Cal State Fullerton at Cal Poly
UC Riverside at UC Santa Barbara
UC Davis at Hawai’i, 7 p.m.

Saturday’s Games
Cal State Fullerton at UC Santa Barbara
Long Beach State at Cal State Northridge
UC Riverside at Cal Poly
UC Irvine at Hawai’i, 7 p.m.

Game Information
Who:
Hawai’i (13-6, 1-2 Big West) vs. UC Davis (14-3, 4-0 Big West)
When: Thursday, Jan. 22, 7:00 p.m.
Where: Stan Sheriff Center – Honolulu, O‘ahu
Tickets: Lower level – $26; upper level – $18 for adults, $16 for senior citizens, $5 for students (high school and younger). Parking is $6.
Television: Live on OCSports – Channels 16 (SD) and 1016 (HD).
Streaming Video: www.bigwest.org
Radio: Live on ESPN 1420. Neighbor islands can listen live on KNUI on Maui, KHLO in Hilo, KKON in Kona and KTOH on Kaua’i.
Audio Webcast: Live audio streaming on espn1420am.com
Live Stats: Live in-game stats are available at HawaiiAthlectics.com

7 Comments

  1. Warrior Time… Play D, shoot well, half court sets on D and O, should be great, hustle..take care of ball, shoot 80% or better from FT line, 50% from FG, and 40% from 3pt line, win battle of boards.. no Offensive boards off of missed Aggie FT shots.. hit front end and back end of one and ones.. and Guys.. just win one.. One for The Ole Red Head.. who was the Dean Of UH MBB…

    Go Bows !!

  2. I was there when Corey Hawkins went off for his 40. He couldn’t miss that night. He had another big game last year but I think UH got the lead and most of his points came when UCD was trying to catch up.

    Big difference this year is UH defense is way more quick and aggressive than last two years. Somebody still have to shadow Hawkins, maybe Nevels be the defensive specialist??, but if Bobbitt and Fleming can cause problems for the UCD point guards that will make a huge difference. We didn’t have that kind of defense pressure the last few years so Hawkins and others could run their sets to get open.

  3. Chuck: Agreed. This year’s team if all on point that 3/4 , 1/2 court pressuring trapping defense to create steals and turning teams over, they got Poly, a nation’s leader , only 8 TO’s per game to that point, to turn it over 18x, UH lost a close one in OT..at Riverside, they turned over Riverside 23 times, however lost a close game, At home against CSUN, they turned over the Matadors 28x, with a school tying record 20 steals.. that is how they got most if not all of their 13 victories, that pressure gambling D.. Benjy and team have to really work on that second line defender, when one guy flies out to try to snag a steal, and misses, his man is wide open, and knocks down a three or goes to the rim and scores.. Have to have that rotation, and REBOUNDING.. think if UH can control the 3 point percentages of Davis, win the battle of O and D boards.. and learn NOW to close out games, with ALL 12 guys ready to battle, hope over next 6 games , they come out No less that 4-2, which would be solid !

    Chuck, Backbeat, warriorhaw, servante , FUHA, Eagle, jjay TAVS, palolowar, all that can go .. Rock the House, Help the Rainbows get the win !!
    Go Warriors Go Bows !
    🙂

  4. Agree!!

    Lookinʻ For Suffocating “D”!

    And Ebuillient WIN!

    HEY, ʻBOWS!
    Letʻs Adjust / Improve The BWC Standings!

    GO ʻBOWS!

  5. Let’s Go Bows! Let’s Go Bows! Let’s Go Bows!

  6. Damn. Gotta listen to JP while at the game. Much rather have Dickman. Oh well.

  7. Half-Way There…

    GOT TO WIN Second Half …ON PRINCIPLE

    LOUD STANDING CROWD…

    ENERGETIC ʻBOWS!

    Keep It UP!

    FINISH STRONG!

    GO ʻBOWS!
    TEAM BALL!

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